The fruity fundraiser has been organised by “incredibly proud” friend Betsy Bowman Hood in honour of Southampton student Becca Heritage, who contracted meningitis in November just after she turned 19.
Betsy, from Mattingly in Hampshire and a first year student in Bristol, said she was being sponsored to walk right across Bristol dressed as a banana. She is hoping that at the end of the walk her friends will join her in their own fancy dress costumes.
The fundraiser, which takes place on 5 May, will start in the city centre and end at the iconic Bristol Suspension Bridge.Induced coma
Betsy said her friend Becca had fallen ill very suddenly overnight and was put into an induced coma the next day. There were a couple of points when she was so ill that her family was told to prepare for the worst, but “in true Becca style”, she fought back and stabilised.
“After this, she spent weeks in intensive care and high dependency wards in both University Hospital Southampton and Salisbury District Hospital,” added Betsy.
“She had to have over ten surgeries where both her legs were amputated below the knee and most of her fingers also. In addition to this, she had to have numerous skin grafts.”
She added that Becca is now undergoing rehabilitation in Roehampton and was already able to walk on her prosthetics with walking sticks. “The strength she has gained and the determination she has is so admirable,” she said.
“I know for a fact she will become the successful doctor she has always wanted to be and will continue to inspire the lives of others around her."
“She is in great spirits and is gaining more and more strength everyday - she doesn’t cease to amaze everyone with how determined she is and the progress she is making so quickly."Ridiculously proud
“This is why I decided to fundraise for Meningitis Now - I am so ridiculously proud of my best friend and wanted to do something to honour her and to share her story with others so they know what an incredible person she is.”
Meningitis Now CEO Dr Tom Nutt praised Betsy’s efforts, saying how heartening it was not just to hear stories of friends helping others who had contracted the disease, but also tales of such courage and determination.
“Dressing up in a banana costume might sound frivolous but as well as being a great way to raise funds it is a reminder that there is life after meningitis for those living with the impact of the disease - including friends and family members of those who have been directly affected."
“It sounds like Becca has some wonderful friends who will continue to support her whatever the future brings – but by all reports she is a very courageous and determined young woman with a bright future ahead of her."
“We wish Becca luck but of course we also wish Betsy Banana the best of luck for her walk on 5 May. Everyone at Meningitis Now is keeping our fingers crossed that her fundraiser will be a fruitful one!”
To donate to Betsy’s banana fundraiser please visit her Just Giving page.